If you could pick six things you’d like to see from the Chicago Bulls in 2014, what would it be?
2013 has been an up-and-down year, to say the least. With the return of Derrick Rose, the Bulls were expected to contend for an NBA title, which would be the franchise’s first since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen duo was still in town.
However, those championship dreams would instantly come to an end once Rose went down with yet another knee injury. Although Rose likely won’t return until next year, the Bulls possess the personnel to be a decent ballclub without him.
2014 could turn to out to be quite a year for Chicago’s hoop squad. What’s your wish list?
All stats are from basketball-reference.com and accurate as of Dec. 18, 2013.
Chicago would've suffered a road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks if it wasn't for Mike Dunleavy's heroics.
The former Buck came up huge, knocking down a game-winning three-pointer with 5.8 seconds to go.
Following the amazing play, Bulls announcer Stacey King screamed phrases like, "Gimme the hot sauce!" and, "Mike 'Don't Leave Me Open' Dunleavy!"
Hopefully, Mike D. hits many more of these shots as the season progresses. Gimme the hot sauce! That never gets old.
No doubt about it, this was a present for Bulls fans during a rather disappointing season.
On opening night this season, the Bulls were embarrassed by the Miami Heat, 107-95, down in South Beach.
Luckily, Chicago would get their revenge at home, smashing LeBron James’ crew 107-87.
That was an impressive win over the two-time defending champs, especially since the Bulls did it without their injured starting backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.
Joakim Noah, who put up 17 points and 15 rebounds in the victory, made it clear that Chicago isn’t in love with the Heat, via Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago: “I think the people in this city, there's something about when Miami comes to town. You wake up in the morning, you just feel it. You feel... people in this city, they don't like [the] Miami Heat. We don't like the Miami Heat. It always feels good to beat them."
Picking up a 20-point win over a team like the Utah Jazz or Orlando Magic would be nice. But when it’s against the Heat, it’s on a whole 'nother level. Bulls fans are hoping to see more of these Miami beatdowns this season.
When it was confirmed that Derrick Rose would be out indefinitely, the words "tank the season" began to surface.
It makes sense. There's no point of trying to reach the postseason if you're going to get smoked by the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat in the first round.
Just go ahead and lose a bunch of games, making it easier to land a good draft pick.
But then again, watching the Bulls not make the playoffs would hurt. It wouldn't be right.
Last season was exciting, as they reached the postseason despite not having Rose's services. And it would be fun to see this year as well, especially since they're without Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli.
The Bulls currently own a 9-14 record and wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended today. They can still accomplish the feat, although it will be tough.
Derrick Rose missed the entire 2012-13 campaign recovering from ACL surgery. Then just a few games into this season, he tore his right meniscus, which will force him to miss the rest of the year.
Good grief, can't this guy catch a break?
D-Rose isn't the only key Bulls player to miss time, though. Jimmy Butler has missed 11 games while leading scorer Luol Deng has sat out four contests.
It would be wonderful if the dreaded injury bug would stay far away from Chicago. The Bulls' core can't stay healthy at the same time, which is why a major rebuilding project could take place following the season.
Back in 1990, the Bulls used the draft-and-stash method by selecting forward Toni Kukoc.
Relocating from Europe to Chicago in '93, the "Croatian Sensation" would emerge as an impact player, helping the Bulls win three consecutive titles.
Nikola Mirotic, whom the Bulls acquired via the 2011 draft, could be the next guy. The 6'10" Real Madrid star is considered the best player in all of Europe. Fans are crossing their fingers hoping that Mirotic lands in Chicago next summer.
It's possible that his ceiling is much higher than Kukoc's. Perhaps he'll wind up becoming the next Dirk Nowitzki, you never know.
We shall see if Bulls management manages to bring Mirotic to the Windy City in the Year 2014. He would certainly be a fantastic offseason acquisition.
Next summer, the Bulls can free up cap space by letting free agent Luol Deng walk and using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer.
There will be a pair of superstar free agents, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, available if they choose to opt out of their contracts.
Would either player leave their current team and take their talents to the Windy City?
It’s definitely a long shot, but plenty of Bulls fans would be excited to see King James or ‘Melo sport red and black in 2014. Both players would provide big-time scoring, which is truly Chicago’s most glaring weakness. Plus, either guy would form a remarkable duo with a healthy Derrick Rose next season.
Major free agents usually tell the Bulls, “Thanks, but no thanks.” There’s nothing wrong with wishing, though, right?